Job seeking is one of the most anxiety-inducing, nail-biting, and stressful processes, especially if you’re getting desperate.
There is nothing wrong with interviewing for a job you’re not sure about, but you shouldn’t accept a job offer you’re not 100% behind.
Because if you do, it will hold you back from finding your dream job, could have a negative impact professionally, and you may even get stuck there.
So, you need to know what the red flags and signs are that a job offer you were excited to receive is not within your best interests professionally.
Here are 15 signs you should not accept a job offer:
15 Signs You Should Not Accept a Job Offer
1. They Gave You a Counteroffer to What You Asked For
This has happened to me before, the offer I received after a job interview was very different from what we agreed to in the interview.
It was a worse offer, of course, I don’t think there will be many instances where someone receives a much higher offer than they expected.
But it wasn’t so much the fact that the offer was slightly lower that was a red flag for me, it was the fact that the company was willing to change what we agreed on.
When companies do this it’s like they’re trying to lowball someone to see what they can get away with, I see it as an abuse of trust.
That’s not how I want to start a working relationship and is always going to make me turn the other way.
2. You’re Really Not Happy With The Salary
Whether you agreed to the salary being offered or not, if you’ve had time to think about it and you’re not happy with the offer, you shouldn’t take it.
If you’re going to be struggling financially, or if you know you’re worth a lot more, don’t settle.
You’ll only regret it when you accept the job and then the process of finding a new job starts all over again.
If they don’t agree to your terms or aren’t willing to move at all, then look elsewhere.
3. You Can’t See Any Career Progression Opportunities
If you’re looking at the job offer or opportunities within the company and can’t see any clear paths to progress, then it’s worth reconsidering.
There are plenty of roles that will have good career progression paths, and it’s something any forward-thinking company that invests in its employees should be thinking about.
4. The Commute Is Too Far and Long
Again, this is something that you may have been on the fence about during the interview phase, but now don’t have a good feeling about.
With travel costs rising and the time spent on a commute better spent elsewhere, it can be tough to take a job with a long commute.
If you dread the commute, don’t take the job.
Depending on your role, you may even be able to find a work-from-home job or a job with some days spent at home.
That can make a huge difference to your pocket!
5. You’re Still Not Sure What Your Day-To-Day Tasks Are
This is another issue I’ve faced myself, even after going through three interviews and receiving a final offer.
I still had no real idea what I’d be doing day to day or what my responsibilities would be in the role.
That never feels good. It’s a huge risk to accept a job like this as you may end up doing tasks that you don’t like and don’t want to do.
If this is the case, ask them to be more specific about the tasks and duties involved before signing anything.
6. The Online Reviews from Past Employees Are Bad
In this day and age, there are plenty of platforms where employees, both current and former, can leave reviews for companies they’ve worked for.
You should always take these reviews with a pinch of salt, as obviously there are a lot of disgruntled employees out there, but you shouldn’t ignore them either!
If there are a lot of negative reviews of a company from employees, it’s a red flag and something to take a serious look at.
7. You Were Not Happy With The Interview
This ties into the earlier point about feeling comfortable enough to accept a job offer.
If you had a bad interview experience, and things didn’t go as planned, or you simply didn’t feel comfortable enough in the process, don’t take the job.
It’s a sign that things might not be as rosy once you start working there.
No matter how desperate you are for a job, you’re always going to be worse off in the long run accepting a job that you didn’t feel good about.
8. The Company Has a High Staff Turnover
While this might not be something you can easily find out, if you do have the chance to ask around or research it and find out the company has a high turnover this is a huge red flag.
This usually means that people are unhappy with their job and the working conditions, and there might be a toxic culture within the organization.
It’s best to look elsewhere if this is the case otherwise you’ll become part of the statistics and find yourself in the job market again.
Related – Should you take a job you’re not excited about? Here are the pros and cons.
9. You Have Some Moral Issues With The Work
If you’re starting to ponder over some of the moral issues with the work you’ll be doing, you should pass on the job.
It may be hard to turn down an attractive offer, but you won’t regret it in the long run.
Even if it’s something small like you don’t agree with the company’s policy on social responsibility, it can be better to take a stand and look for something else.
10. You Saw a Lack of Professionalism When You Visited the Company
If you got the feeling the company and/or employees were unprofessional during your interview, this isn’t a good sign.
It could mean you won’t be respected in the role or your ideas may not be taken seriously.
You should feel like you have a voice and can rely on your coworkers, you don’t want to be part of an immature team or be surrounded by unprofessional behavior.
If you feel this way, think twice before accepting the offer.
11. The Company Has a Poor Reputation with Its Customers
It’s not just employee satisfaction you should be concerned about, the reputation of the company with its customers is another factor to consider.
Do some research online and see what people are saying about the company, what their customer service is like, and how they handle complaints.
If the company has a bad reputation with its customers, this is something to consider before accepting the job offer.
It says a lot about the quality of management, the company mission, their ethics, and how bright the future looks.
12. The Contract Doesn’t Outline Future Pay Opportunities
If the job offer doesn’t mention any room for growth and/or further pay opportunities, this is a sign that you should look elsewhere.
I’m sure you’re thinking ahead and considering your long-term goals and career development, so if the job contract doesn’t outline any growth opportunities, they might not be there.
13. You’re Not Going to Be Challenged by The Work
You need to feel challenged and be able to use your skills and talents in a meaningful way if you’re going to grow professionally and feel like you’re making a difference.
If you don’t think the work is going to be challenging enough, or it doesn’t fit with your skillset and career goals, this is a sign that you should look for another role.
14. You Know You Have a Much Higher Value
You know your worth and value, if the offer you’ve received doesn’t meet what you know you’re worth you shouldn’t take it.
It’s important to stand up for yourself and not take a job that doesn’t meet your expectations.
You hold the power, so don’t be afraid to negotiate or look for something better if you know you deserve better.
15. You Get a Bad Gut Feeling About It
Finally, if you have a bad gut feeling about the job offer, you shouldn’t take it.
Or at the very least you should take some time to think the offer over and discuss it with some friends and family members.
Trusting your instincts is key and if something feels off, then it is probably best to pass on the job.
Also, I know this is easier said than done, but once you make a decision to pass on a job you have to stick by it.
No matter how difficult it is to find another job, don’t look back!
You can’t stress over what might have been, you can only trust your instincts and look forward.
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-portrait-two-business-partners-one
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.